By MAGGIE SNAVELY
Being an introvert causes a lot of common misunderstandings among other people. People that don’t understand what being an introvert means will sometimes take things the wrong way or even get offended.
The word introvert comes from the Latin word intro, which means “inward.” This can be connected to the meaning of being an introvert because, instead of being a person that communicates a lot to the world around them, you tend to prefer to focus more on things closer to you and are more comfortable with listening to internal thoughts and feelings rather than big groups of other people. It’s nothing personal, but just what are they more comfortable with.
A lot of the time people can end up getting their feelings hurt because they misunderstand an introvert’s intentions. When they tell you they would honestly rather go home than hang out with you at the library, it is not because they hate you. They find it more enjoyable or comfortable to just have time for themselves and enjoy things they can do at home. Some people really would rather go to the library, while others to an after school party, and that’s totally fine; it’s just a personal preference. When they tell you no, it does not mean that they are a mean or rude person; they are being honest. It doesn’t mean you cannot be friends with them, it just might take a bit longer to get close to them.
Having friends that are both introverts and extroverts can be beneficial to both. Sometimes introverts can remind an excited friend when it is time to calm down or when this is something that should be kept private. Introverts can benefit from having friends who are extroverts as well. Having a friend that is comfortable with the world all around them really helps and sometimes forces introverts to get out there and experience new things that they never would have done on their own. When an introvert is forced to do something, like talk to new people, present in front of a class or anything of the sort, having a friend that is confident next to them can make them feel a lot safer. These two different personalities can complement each other really effectively sometimes.
When you are as withdrawn as this, it can affect your daily life. Something as simple as presenting to the class can get you stressing all day until the class is over. When you try to avoid social interactions, people may start to see you as the type of person who does not want to make friends, so it is harder to get along and blend into the high school environment. Sometimes in class, when the teacher asks for answers, you do not raise your hand even though you understand the material. With the participation points you have to get for an A or when the teacher randomly calls on kids to answer the question, teachers that do not understand how you feel make it really hard to participate in class, especially when they tell you not to be shy and get over it. This can really infuriate you, and most of the time distract you from the lecture.
So although introverts may seem withdrawn or reserved, they are just as friendly as any other person; it just might be harder for them to show it. When they do not run up and greet you right away, try not to get offended. They do not hate you; it’s just going to take some more time to get on their safe side. You may think they do not actually want to talk to you, but they may just be waiting for you to take the first step. If you are that person that stays quiet when you actually want to get closer to another person, try to put yourself out there more.
This is not to say that anyone needs to change who they are, they just may need to work at finding those who complement and appreciate each other.